The [Friday] Papers
"Emanuel on Wednesday did not directly answer questions about whether his proposed settlement was financially linked to free Sundays, time extensions and the 35-cent-per-transaction pay-by-cell program," the Tribune reports.
What is the mayor hiding? Remember, when he announced the new meter deal he left the podium before reporters could ask a single question. And he's been just as squirrely ever since. What's the deal?
"Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th, the mayor's floor leader, said the council cannot unilaterally decide to break apart the deal."
That doesn't appear to be true. Our parking meter overlords don't seem to care much about the swap of free Sundays for extended hours, though it's likely to net them even more gobs of money than they're already getting.
"But while O'Connor said that splitting up the parts could kill the entire deal, [Ald. Brendan] Reilly said that if the administration is being square that there's no financial linkage, it shouldn't be a problem.
"When Emanuel was asked Wednesday if no free Sundays or longer hours in downtown areas would kill the deal, he replied: 'I don't think the deal would die. But the point is that free Sundays would not be available for the residents for the next 71 years.'"
Of course, that's just silly - unless there's a provision in the new deal we don't know about precluding the city from ever broaching the topic of free Sundays again. Plus, free Sunday parking for the next 71 years is just a weird rallying cry. In 71 years, we might all be using jetpacks.
Something is definitely up. Either Rahm is playing hide the ball by keeping some sort of fine print out of the public eye, or he's just simply embarrassed that all his tough guy talk resulted in Chicago Parking Meters LLC getting even richer off us while he makes a political play for black votes (the Sunday churchgoers who he says will benefit from the deal; churchgoers mostly on the South Side, as Reilly has pointed out, and not the thousands of churchgoers downtown who are excluded from the arrangement).
"Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th, told the Tribune editorial board Thursday that he and other aldermen need far more information about the aspects of the deal not related to the settlement.
"My question is: 'Are they making additional dollars? Is this revenue-neutral for CPM or are they making money?'" Pawar said. "Because if they're making money, it looks like to me that we have simply shifted the burden to the consumer."
That's exactly right - this deal looks like a cost-shift dressed up as a discount. Drivers in River North will now pony up for what taxpayers citywide used to pay for. That may not be a terrible idea, but City Hall refuses to acknowledge that's what's going on here.
"Pawar said that if the savings negotiated for the city will be on the backs of increased parking hours for drivers, 'let's just be honest about that, because if it isn't, why are we tweaking hours and providing free Sundays if no one is complaining? Why can't we take that piece out?'"
Little Big Picture
But we can't renegotiate a parking meter lease.
Big Little Picture
"Ghazvinizadeh's 21-minute short film, Needle, the story of a preteen girl getting her ears pierced, was one of 1,550 entries from 277 schools all over the world."
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Posted on May 10, 2013
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